Musings of a once sane mind.

Another interesting article on the state of the tech industry…

This time it’s an interview with Sean Parker (of Facebook and Spotify fame). There’s a few things they talk about here that I take issue with.

First and foremost this idea that there’s a talent crunch. I really don’t think there is. I think there’s a lot of arrogant managers out there who simply can’t understand why someone wouldn’t want to work for them. I think there’s plenty of talented people out there, that through the strain of the bad economy - have realized that there’s more to life than simply having money thrown at you. That are tired of grinding themselves to the nub just to make a paycheck (even if it is a large one with many benefits). People like me who have now moved cross country to pursue a step up in quality of life rather than a step up the corporate ladder. Not to mention as I mentioned in my last post on this subject, I think companies are looking for not just a jack-of-all-trades, but an absolute wizard of all trades (of which few exist, so in that regard perhaps there is a talent crunch?). Rather than claiming talent crunch and wondering why companies like google are spending millions of dollars in talent acquisition - perhaps people like Parker need to step back and look at the sociology of WHY do they NEED to spend millions of dollars in talent acquisition? If it was truly a talent crunch - there wouldn’t be skilled labor to acquire in the first place. Clearly the talent is there, they’re just not jumping up from their desks and flocking to google and facebook anymore. So perhaps there’s more to the story than meets the eye?

This idea that startups might fail and it’s going to be the end of the world is ridiculous. A lot of startups fail. That’s the nature of the beast. Most small businesses fail, period. Whether it’s a restaurant, a micro-blogging site, a high fashion boutique, most will fail.

Parker goes on to rip “half baked” ideas. What he fails to realize though, is that  at least there are ideas which is a vast improvement from the past model of chasing ad dollars to no end. Parker himself has been involved in a few half cracked schemes of companies that failed. Even those failures however helped drive creativity and innovation in new directions. His own ventures such as facebook and spotify would not exist (nor would tumblr, twitter, or countless other success stories) had it not been for those failures.

Perhaps some money will be lost - but again that’s the nature of the beast. In the process new talent, new ideas, and new creations will be fostered, and bigger-better-faster-stronger business ventures start to see the light of day. This is a good thing, even if a few weaker competitors have to fall in the process. 

I know it might seem like i’m ripping on the guy, but I’m not. I actually have a great deal of respect for the man, and admire what he’s been able to do in his life. However, I think he’s lost touch with the truly scrappy sort of start up. The guys with the big ideas who are willing to put their blood sweat and tears into being successful.

He says “Any great engineer these days, who has a good pedigree, can go and get a $250,000 or $500,000 check and start a business and they’re probably not qualified to do so.” Maybe so Sean (not really, I think that’s bullshit - but i’ll give you the benefit of the doubt here), but by your own words you weren’t a born business genius either. You had to take your lumps and learn your lessons (and go through your own massive failures). If 10 years ago everyone had followed your advice now, you’d be flipping burgers. So lighten up and let other people learn their lessons. The world just might be a better place for it. 

Or something. Who knows. I’m just one of those silly engineers working for one of those silly little small companies with a lot of half baked ideas…


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